Echelon, an interactive audio-visual installation by Danish digital art group Vertigo, has been unveiled at the foot of London’s Centre Point, in the newly opened St Giles Square. The artwork has been curated by Futurecity for Almacantar, the development company behind the rejuvenation of the iconic brutalist building.
Echelon is an urban forest that consists of 36 LED bars, forming a 12-metre equilateral triangle that lights up St Giles Square. A total of 27,000 luminous LED points flash spectacularly in sync with an accompanying soundscape spanning from brief notes to soft flowing sound images.
Echelon invites visitors to come together and transform the square into a luminous performative space. The installation rises from its dormant state whenever movement is detected, getting brighter and more active with the flow of people. The awakening is triggered by three radars, symmetrically placed around the light installation. The audience is encouraged to move around and inside the piece in order to get a full experience of the work.
Echelon is the first interactive work to be installed as part of Centre Point’s activation programme; it follows the siting of Whippet Good by Delve Architects and City Benches by Astrain Studio, two award-winning designs originally commissioned for the London Festival of Architecture, and curated by Futurecity for the square in 2019. With the Residences recently completed, the square also plays host to all-day dining destination Arcade Food Theatre, with the highly anticipated opening of Din Tai Fung expected in the summer.
Vertigo says: “We are proud to showcase Echelon in St Giles Square, an iconic location in the centre of London. The location is extra special as Centre Point has a personal connection to one of our team members, Mikkel Meyer. He has fond memories of residing in London in 2001, exploring the local music scene, experimenting with sounds, and creating a series of programmes for Resonance FM radio station founded locally on Denmark Street. In 2020, as part of Vertigo, Meyer brings a new soundscape to the area with our new audio-visual installation.”
Kathrin Hersel, Property Director – Almacantar, says: “We wanted to collaborate with world-class artists on our activations at Centre Point which is why we commissioned Echelon by Vertigo. St Giles Square is a rare oasis of space for central London which needs to reflect the way Londoners live. Aside from looking beautiful in the winter light, Echelon allows visitors to create their own experience using light and sound and invites us to take time out of our busy lives to change direction and look up.”
Sherry Dobbin, Partner – Futurecity, says: “Surrounded by iconic architectural landmarks and innovative artworks by Cerith Wyn Evans and Marco Brambilla, Vertigo’s new digital installation highlights St Giles Square as the West End’s destination for cultural and creative expression. Echelon stimulates the senses through sound and light immersion, and is perfectly aligned with the asymmetry of the square and its role as a major exchange of visitors, residents and commuters.”